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Volkmar Völzke's BLOG


Making the invisible visible

leadership mindset May 28, 2020
Do you know the phenomenal 3D pictures, where some can only see a three-dimensional image after looking at it in a certain way, while many never see it at all?

Here is an example:

Do you see the 3D image? You have to completely relax your eyes while looking at the picture.

I came across a book like this from the nineties the other day when I was tidying up, and was fascinated again. Why? Well, because something unexpected opens up exactly where you wouldn't expect it: in a 2D image that doesn't mean anything.

And there is another conclusion to take from this: what we see is an illusion anyway, constructed by our brain. In principle, this applies to everything in life and business.

What is the relevance of this for our leadership and business success?

Here are three tips that have the potential to make your leadership and your team much more effective:
  1. Points of view. What one person sees very clearly may be completely hidden from the other. We all have certain clear fields of...
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The biggest mistakes in sales

sales May 28, 2020

After a long time, I’d like to come back to a sales topic. Or better: How you can unleash huge potential for more sales and profit. 

Examples: Recently, in a men’s clothing store, in the department for suits. After a short time, one of the many under-employed salespeople is approaching me (at last!) and selects some suits for me, showing me where I can try them on, and then: nothing! No asking, no advice. Nothing. And this is not an isolated case. Did I buy? No! Of course not. 

Next: My MacBook Air needs a new battery. The Apple Store is in a different city, so I’m looking for Apple authorized stores close to my home. What do I find? Confusing websites without clear statements about price and no possibility for scheduling an online appointment. As such, I’d rather book the appointment directly at Apple online in 30 seconds. And yes, even the price is clear. 

These are just examples and yet wherever you look, potentials for more sales, more...
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Amazing facts

mindset productivity May 26, 2020

Did you know that the average car is only 6 km/h fast? Or that each email costs about 1 dollar? Or that certain computer software massively reduces productivity in ways you probably don’t even think about? You can read all of this in this article, which was published recently in a renowned Swiss newspaper (in German). 

So are we lost? Are we unable to increase productivity after all? Are we condemned to work harder and harder? 

Not at all! Let’s be serious: if you want to create more results and at the same time reduce your negative stress and uncertainty, there are three important levers. What is striking is that these are often neglected in so-called “productivity programs”. 

  1. Mindset. You need to become serious about productivity! Don’t laugh – many have trouble with it, since this means simultaneously taking more responsibility for their own time. How much more convenient it is to sit for an hour in the next meeting!
  2. Value...
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Scarcity Or Abundance?

leadership mindset May 23, 2020

There is a mindset that is crucial for more or less success, privately or in business: Are your decisions guided by the belief that, in principle, everything is available in abundance or by the idea that there is a lack in everything? 

Do you think that, if you have more of something, then someone else must have less? Or do you believe that, if you have more, others will benefit at the same time? 

I can tell you, based on various studies, from my collaboration with numerous people, and from personal experience, this difference in mindset makes a huge difference for your success and your happiness in life. 

Now, you can probably guess which of these two mindsets leads to more success. It is the belief that everything is available in abundance: happiness, money, prosperity, success, ideas, and so on. 

From my experience, however, the other mindset prevails in most companies; scarcity rules.

If you change this mindset for yourself and your team, gates will open for...
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Leading in difficult times

leadership May 21, 2020

What does it actually mean to lead in difficult times? There's an old saying that true leadership shows up in times of crisis. When the sun is not shining, when there are storms to be overcome.

I would only agree with this to a limited extent. Because it takes a lot to set the sails properly when the wind comes from behind. In any case, I always find it remarkable how many good opportunities are missed when all doors are open. Some companies extend their competitive edge massively, especially in good times - when everyone can actually afford to do it.

Here comes the most important truth: the biggest difference in success never comes from the outside, but always from the inside. With the right leadership, you can almost always be massively more successful than the average person, no matter what is going on outside.

Here are three essential leadership success factors for orientation from my “vault", each in "easy" and "difficult" times. You can base your own actions on them:
  1. ...
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Do you think exponentially or linearly?

leadership May 14, 2020

Exponential growth has currently become very prominent with the spread of the coronavirus: a small cause (the bartender in Ischgl in Austria) had an exponential effect (thousands of infected people who, in turn, infected thousands).

So far so clear. The problem is that our brain has enormous difficulty processing exponential connections. Instinctively, we always try to draw linear conclusions. This is where the gigantic misconceptions at the beginning of the corona spread came from (and some heads of state have still not understood it today).

This insight is extremely relevant for successful leadership. The most successful organizations are led with exponential leadership. The less successful ones, however, think linear.

If this seems too abstract to you now, here are a few examples of how you can leverage the exponential potential for your team or company and thereby create a considerable competitive advantage:

  1. Cultural change. If you want to make your culture more powerful, i.e....
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Leadership Learning Points from Corona

leadership May 07, 2020

A lot has already been written about the effects on leadership and on our teamwork in organizations as a result of the corona challenges. One question keeps coming up: What will change positively in our leadership and our culture in the long term?

Here are a few  leadership lessons that I take away from my coaching and projects with my clients during the last weeks:
  1. Nothing will change if we do not change ourselves. In a few weeks and months, many things will be exactly the same as before unless we as leaders have taken the chance and started to change some of our behavioural patterns in leadership. This is a conscious choice.
  2. There is always another way. You have probably also thought that many things that would have taken months, or years, to decide in normal times, now happen in a few days. Meetings via video? No problem! The CEO's morning video to the team? We always wanted to do that, anyway! Omitting unproductive meetings? We should have done it long ago! Serving...
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Everything Stays Different!

change leadership May 01, 2020

“The world won’t end like this,” Swedish singer Zarah Leander once sang. That statement is, of course, only partly true. With every profound change, a part of the old world goes under, and only because of that can new things be created quickly.

If it happens intentionally, it is called “creative destruction.” But what if it happens unintentionally? Then it’s called “Black Swan,” as Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in his book of the same name some time ago.

The fascinating thing is that for the vast majority of those who witness a profound change, life goes on somehow, and in a short time for many even better than before. This applies to people as well as to companies. However, some are left behind.

Here comes the good news: it is largely in your hands. Provided you remain capable of acting at all (and most people do), you can decide for yourself whether you will do better or worse afterward the change.

Here are the three most...
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The Inner Barriers

leadership Apr 23, 2020

In times of crisis, it becomes especially obvious how strong our inner resistance to change is. We should not fool ourselves—we all carry these obstacles within us.

The great art in any transformation—whether jointly through projects or individually through coaching—is to transform the energy of resistance into an energy of change.

Does this sound too theoretical? Well, we are currently witnessing amazing demonstrations of how this works in real life. Through COVID-19, most people have realized relatively quickly (though some slowly) that opposition against change is of little use. Those who direct their energy toward positive change will win. That is also the subject of my recent video training (more details here).

Here are three ideas on how to manage the transformation of energy from resistance to change even in normal life:

  1. Acceptance. If you feel yourself or others resisting a desired or necessary change, then it is a good sign. Real change will always cause...
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Once Again, We Can Learn from Trump

leadership Apr 16, 2020

Even before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, I had already written about what we could learn from him ( click here). By that, I do not mean his content and behavior but how he manages to be successful by his own standards.

As the saying goes, anyone can serve as a role model, even for how not to do something.

Over the course of the corona pandemic, Donald Trump has shown five strategies for retaining power. We can all use the fourth and fifth as a positive starting point for our own leadership:

  1. Deny when possible. Trump’s first reaction to the coronavirus was to believe that it did not really exist and certainly did not pose a threat. This strategy works well if the threat disappears quickly. This bet did not work here, so he switched to the second strategy:
  2. Blame others. Sharing a common enemy is almost always a good way for people to rally behind you. In this case, for Trump and his supporters, it was first China, then Europe, and then the WHO. More...
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